Blind Loves



LondonNet Film Review
Film in Slovak with English subtitles

Is love more difficult - or does it exist in its purest form - for those who can't see the objects of their desire? Slovakian director Juraj Lehotský's story of four blind characters seeking emotional fulfilment is a touching exploration of what happens when the heart can't rely on the eyes' judgment.

Music teacher Peter, who spends his evenings listening to TV and radio plays while his wife relentlessly knits, dreams of adventures even greater than the ones he hears about on his favourite programmes. Like Peter, Romani gypsy Miro has been blind since birth. Miro is enchanted by Monika, a partially-blind white girl whose parents disapprove not of Miro's lack of sight, but of his race.

Fourteen-year-old Zuzana uses internet chatting to shyly nudge toward her first romance. But the most endearing storyline is that of Elena, a young mother-to-be with plenty of worries: that she won't be able to take care of her first baby, that she won't be able to watch the child grow, that the authorities will take the baby from her and her husband, who also is blind. Brimming with the purest devotion, Elena could sustain a whole semi-documentary.

And that's what Lehotský's film is. Although he and Marek Lešák scripted parts of the 77-minute flick, other portions are authentic. Blurring the line between fiction and documentary (to much, much more thought-provoking ends than today's ubiquitous faux-reality shows, like The Hills), Blind Loves cleverly unites filmgoers with its subjects. Audiences are left wondering whether the images in front of them are real. Peter, Miro, Zuzana and Elena never had the luxury of deciding.

Real or reconstructed, the film charms with its intimacy and grabs laughs that normally might be taboo. Aside from a questionable dream sequence, which involves Peter meeting a touchy-feely octopus, Blind Loves is a sweet examination of four people yearning for something better than the eyes could grasp.

- Jill Hilbrenner